Krill Oil or Fish Oil? Decisions, Decisions

krill oil vs. fish oilBoth krill and fish oil appear regularly in the media. Both seem to be very healthy and have a number of excellent benefits. There are claims that one or the other can promote heart and joint health as well as good moods.

While it is certainly true that both of these provide similar types of nutrition, there are some differences which anyone deciding what to use should consider.

What is Fish Oil?

Unlike in days past when fish oil meant cod liver oil, today fish oil comes from a variety of sources, including mackerel, sardines, albacore tuna, cod, and even salmon. These supplements will usually also include a small amount of vitamin E to protect against spoilage.

The good stuff contained by most fish oil supplements are omega-3 fatty oils. The primary oils are EPA and DHA, which are both very powerful anti-oxidants, helping to protect your body against free radicals and other toxins. Most natural fish oil supplements on the market today contain about 30% EPA and DHA.

There is much of research and other evidence to support numerous health benefits associated with fish oil supplementation, the primary of which is promoting a healthy heart. Perhaps the only disadvantage is that people who are allergic to fish will have a difficult time taking fish oil supplements, not to mention the large, hard-to-swallow capsules.

What is Krill Oil?

Krill oil is not actually harvested from fish. So, those allergic to fish can already see this as a potential replacement. Instead, krill oil comes from a small, shrimp-like creature which lives in the cold waters of the Antarctic. They live on the top of the ocean, feeding on tiny plankton.

Krill oil contains omega-3 as well as omega-9 fatty oils and phospholipids. Typical supplements have about 14% EPA and DHA oils, much less than fish oil. However, it also contains vitamins A, D and astaxanthin, which is an extremely powerful anti-oxidant. This combination actually makes it nearly 48 times more potent than traditional fish oil.

The one main problem with krill oil is that krill are shellfish. Therefore, people with these types of allergies would not be advised to take krill. Despite this, there are additional benefits. Early studies have showed the potential for krill oil to help reduce menstrual symptoms, decrease lipid and blood glucose levels and fight inflammation. Of course, many of the same omega-3 benefits are also present.

Both fish and krill oil have some tremendous benefits. There is no doubt that krill oil is much more powerful, but they do have a slightly different benefit profile. Due to the presence of additional phospholipids, the body absorbs krill oil differently. At this time, it is unclear whether taking both of them would increase or decrease their separate benefits and effectiveness.


Statements found within have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These dietary supplement products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Always consult a physician if you are unsure about taking a new supplement. Do not take this supplement if you are under 18, if you are pregnant, nursing, or have any cardiovascular issues.

Scientific studies cited are not conclusive and have limitations, due to of their closed environment nature. Referenced studies will not necessarily determine your experience with a supplement, since there are many unaccounted variables, which fall outside the scope of the studies.

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